• Barcelona are expected to announce the Frenchman’s signing next week with his release clause from Atletico having dropped from £180m to £107m on July 1.
• Barcelona have appeared to go to great lengths to avoid being accused of lining up Griezmann since the middle of last season.
Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo has warned Barcelona there will be ‘consequences’ if they are found to have signed a pre-contract agreement with Antoine Griezmann last March while his release clause was €80million higher than it is now.
Barcelona are expected to announce the Frenchman’s signing next week with his release clause from Atletico having dropped from £180m to £107m on July 1.
But Atletico Madrid chief executive Miguel Angel Gil said two weeks ago that he believed Griezmann agreed terms with Barcelona in March when his release clause was still at £180m.
Atletico Madrid president Cerezo was asked on Thursday what would happen if it was proved Barcelona agreed terms with Griezmann in March.
He said: “The truth is I don’t know but if it is as you say and he had already signed then there will be consequences. It does not seem normal to me but I do not know if he has signed or not or if he is going to Barcelona or not. I suppose in a few days we will find out.”
Barcelona have appeared to go to great lengths to avoid being accused of lining up Griezmann since the middle of last season. Players have said almost nothing about his imminent arrival and club officials have also been silent.
When rumours started up about Neymar’s return last month it was even suggested that the apparent interest in the Brazilian was a smokescreen to make it appear as if Barcelona were undecided still about signing Griezmann. In the middle of June, Gil told Spanish TV: “I know very well where Griezmann is going to play [next season], it’s been known since March that he is going to Barcelona.”
Greizmann’s move to Barcelona is expected to happen next week when he returns from holiday in Miami. Atletico Madrid’s anger over the suggestion their player was tapped-up may prevent them from allowing Barcelona to pay for the French forward in instalments, meaning they have to deposit his €120m release clause in one payment. But Atletico’s interest in Barcelona full-back Nelson Semedo is likely to soften their approach.
Atletico broke their own transfer record this week when they signed 19-year-old Joao Felix making him the fourth most expensive player in history. The club confirmed on Wednesday that they would pay Benfica £114million for the Portuguese forward. Only Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Philippe Coutinho have cost more with Atletico paying slightly over the release clause of £107m to enable them to buy the teenager in instalments.
“Everyone brings the players they want to bring and then we see if they are really worth the money,” said Cerezo. “He is a player that many clubs in Europe wanted. We are lucky that he will be playing for us next season.”